The impact and recovery of asteroid 2008 TC3


Wednesday, July 08 2009 - 10:42 am, PDT
Peter Jenniskens
SETI Institute

For the first time, astronomers tracked an asteroid in space, observed its size, reflection properties and how it tumbled, then saw it crash in Earth's atmosphere over Sudan on October 7, 2008. At first, no pieces were expected to survive because the entry resulted in a massive explosion at 37 km altitude that left most of the asteroid in dust.

SETI Institute astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens tells how he established contacts with Dr. Muawia Shaddad of the University of Khartoum and, in the company of 45 students and staff, traveled to the impact site in the middle of the Nubian Desert in early December, two months after the fall.
The recovered meteorites are the first from a known asteroid, and link rare ureilite meteorites to F-class asteroids.

Project Website: Dr. Jenniskens website:

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